You’ve perhaps heard by now that essential oils are unsafe to topically apply to the skin by themselves, and that they first need to be diluted in a carrier oil. But what exactly is a carrier oil, and how is it different from an essential oil?
CARRIER OILS & THEIR ORIGINS
Unlike essential oils, which are the pure essence of a plant, carrier oils do not contain therapeutic properties. However, their value to aromatherapy cannot be understated. If you use essential oils, it is absolutely vital that you keep a few different carrier oils in your arsenal.
Carrier oils can be thought of as neutral oils; they have no smell or a neutral smell, and thus do not provide aromatherapy benefits by themselves. They are generally made from vegetarian sources, and unlike essential oils, they are not volatile. This means they are ideal to use as a vehicle for diluting essential oils in order to apply essential oils to the skin.
HOW TO USE CARRIER OILS CORRECTLY
Because of the purity and high level of concentration of essential oils, they carry the natural smell of whichever plant they are made from and are volatile, evaporating rapidly when exposed to air. They are too strong to be applied topically by themselves. Since carrier oils are not volatile and have neutral, mild smells, they are great for diluting most essential oils. Carrier oils help reduce the concentration of an essential oil without removing the oil’s therapeutic properties – the entire reason you’d be using an essential oil in the first place! You also have control over how much carrier oil you can use, meaning you can dilute an essential oil to your preference.
Do note that not all fatty kitchen ingredients should be used to dilute essential oils. While some carrier oils can be found in your pantry, like olive oil, other fats like margarine, butter, or even vegetable shortening should not be applied to your skin. Petroleum jelly and other mineral oils should also not be used as carrier oils.
LIFESPAN OF CARRIER OILS
Carrier oils are organic materials that are high in fat, so they will not last forever sitting on the shelf. Make sure your carrier oils have not gone bad before you use them. Some go bad within six months, while others can last for up to a year. Make sure to label your oils with the dates you procured them, and store them correctly: in a dark, cool place, sealed in their original, air-tight containers. Essential oils should be stored in a dark, cool place, as well.
If you want to combine properties of different carrier oils, feel free to mix and match them – it won’t disrupt the essential oil properties you’re looking for!
BEST CARRIER OILS FOR AROMATHERAPY
Here are some of the carrier oils to use with your favorite essential oils:
MCT (Medium Chain Triglycerides): MCT oils are derived from coconut oil which is light, clear and scent-free.It has antimicrobial properties, which makes it a great carrier oil in fighting off bacteria. Rich in Vitamins K and E, MCT is easily absorbed intothe skin, leaving skin feeling smooth and silky. MCT Oil is produced via a heating process which allows the oil to retain the same moisturising effect as coconut oil.
Grapeseed: Grapeseed oil is a silky oil that is high in essential fatty acids and Vitamin E. It is naturally gentle on the skin and is a common ingredientin premium skincare products. Grapeseed Oil isalso non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog pores or cause breakouts. In fact, its astringent qualities make it an amazing carrier oil foracne prone and oily skin.
Jojoba: Jojoba oil is suitable for all skin types. With its highly-penetrative liquid wax, it closely resembles our skin sebum and absorbs quickly into the skin leaving a satiny smooth finish without any oily residue. Due to its high Vitamin E content, Jojoba Carrier Oil is popular for its ability to moisturise skin and hair. Jojoba carrier oil is cold-pressed from the beans of the Jojoba plant to produce a 100% pure natural oil with no additives. Jojoba Carrier Oil is also an antioxidant and can extend the life of other essential oils.
Moringa: Moringa Oil is deeply nourishing for our skin and hair. It contains oleic acid and fatty acids, which assists our skin’s ability in retaining moisture, and penetrates deeply into our skin cells. Moringa Oil is also rich in antioxidants and plant hormones called cytokinins, which encourage cell growth and boosts collagen for youthful-looking skin. Moringa Oil is derived from its seeds which is known for its nutrient-dense medicinal qualities. It has a thin consistency, so it absorbs into our skin very quickly.
Tamanu: Tamanu oil is a must-have carrier oil for skin issues. This glistening greenish-brown oil is rich and thick and absorbs into our skin slowly leaving a luxurious sheen. Tamanu Oil is gentle and promotes restoration of healthy skin, leaving skin soft and rejuvenated. It also helps to reduce the appearance of scars and stretch marks caused by weight-gain or pregnancy. Tamanu has UV protectant properties, making it an excellent natural sun-screen, which is also soothing and healing on sunburns.Pressed from the seeds of the Calophyllum inophyllum tree, it is best used with othercarrier oils because of its viscosity.
Source: Anjaca health and wellness